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NFT is hot, but storage is the most neglected important part



For NFT, you must be careful, from being worth millions to being worthless, there may be only one step away. Storage is a key part of it. ‍Recently, the NFT and storage concept tracks are still hot, but there is little talk about the relationship between the two. Share an article today, just to focus on this topic, and talk about one aspect of NFT that is neglected: storage. Before the main text, let’s start with the two blog posts of He Caitou, and share with the readers. Recently, an article about NFT "Some Nonsense about NFT" by the antique-level Internet writer He Caitou has been screened. It is mentioned in the article: Maybe it is too early to imagine the future, maybe the NFT craze will just disappear as soon as all the trends on the Internet. However, changes in reality are always later than changes in ideas. I think NFT can look a little further, because it is quietly changing people's ideas. What’s interesting is that Uncle Caitou thought that this popular science article was boring and the reading volume would hit a new low. After meeting netizens in the currency circle, the reaction was very interesting: “Even He Caitou is talking about NFT.” He Caitou described that a large number of readers in the currency circle poured in: No comments, no likes, no attention, ran in without saying a word, clicked on the praise, paid a sum of money, turned around and left. About ten years ago, there was no official account, and even WeChat hadn’t appeared yet. Hecaitou, Lianyue, and Lao Luo's were the places I often hang out in those days. He Caitou's blog is called "The Past by the Trough", and some traces of the past can also be vaguely seen. May it be as Caitou said, and may we, readers who still firmly believe in the future trend in the currency circle, "faith come true, pass through the narrow gate, and reach the vast land." Closer to home, let's return to the topic of this article: NFT and Storage, how is it connected, and why storage is an easily overlooked part of NFT. There is a view that NFT is a radical new form of digital ownership, trying to get rid of the control of centralized companies. For example, in a traditional game, although you bought a lot of cool equipment and props, it seems that you have a lot of digital assets in the game. But still subject to the restrictions of the game party, you do not really own the asset. Therefore, after the emergence of NFT, people expect that there will finally be a digital asset that can be truly "owned". As long as there are tokens, you will have the corresponding digital artwork. NFTs represent a new generation of digital asset ownership. Is that so? In fact, things are really not that simple. Many NFTs are more centralized than investors think, and the reality may be that the "true ownership" we expect NFTs to bring us may not be real. The privacy solution Railgun is about to deploy version V1.0, which is compatible with NFT and can save gas costs: on May 8th, the privacy solution Railgun (RAIL) tweeted that the proposal to deploy Railgun V1.0 has now been approved. This version is compatible with NFT and can greatly save Gas costs. Railgun uses zero-knowledge proof (zk-SNARKs) technology to allow users to enjoy privacy when transferring funds, trading, using leveraged platforms, increasing liquidity or using decentralized applications. [2022/5/8 2:58:45] NFT cannot be separated from storage. Although this issue is not often raised by NFT enthusiasts. Although NFT decentralized forms exist, most NFT marketplaces, including Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, Rarible, Opensea, etc., have some centralized components just like traditional online stores. For example, if you buy an NFT, the token itself exists on the blockchain. However, due to the high cost of storing files on the chain, especially large files such as videos, images, videos and other media related to tokens are usually stored off-chain. That is to say, the data of NFT's own token part is centralized, but often the media such as pictures corresponding to NFT adopts the method of off-chain storage, and the Hash value data of these files are stored in the NFT token metadata . The storage method of NFT is determined by the artist or the platform, which means that the corresponding photos, videos and other files in NFT may be stored on a centralized server. It has to be said that for NFT buyers, this creates a problem: what if the company storing the NFT media file goes out of business? How to ensure that the NFT they bought really still exists? Instead of turning into a bubble? Recently, a programmer on Twitter wrote an in-depth post on NFT, exploring where the media referenced by NFT actually exists. He found that usually NFT tokens will point to an off-chain storage location, in the metadata, either with an HTTP URL link or with an IPFS Hash value. Since HTTP URLs are addressable, linking a file to a specific site with specific data that the owner controls is essentially a centralized storage method. If the NFT relies on the metadata of the HTTP URL, this means that the NFT holder cannot actually own the NFT at all, because the publisher needs to continue to maintain the server to make these NFTs meaningful. In other words, once the server storing these media is shut down or closed, these NFTs are just blank. The total value of NFT held by rapper Snoop Dogg and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck is US$95 million: On March 2, according to DappRadar data, the NFT portfolio value of rapper Snoop Dogg and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck totaled US$95 million. At press time, Gary Vaynerchuck’s wallet holds $81.89 million worth of NFTs. His holdings include multiple NFTs from top collectible items such as CryptoPunks (he owns as many as 60 in total), Bored Ape Yacht Club, and World of Women. Snoop Dogg is an avid NFT collector and his wallet holds multiple CryptoPunks, Meebits, and Fidenza NFTs. His most expensive NFT holding, CryptoPunk #3831, is worth $2.57 million at current prices. A DappRadar blog post once listed the top 10 most valuable celebrity NFT portfolios. Other celebrities to watch include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian ($4.9 million) and YouTube star Logan Paul ($4.36 million). (Cointelegraph) [2022/3/2 13:32:37] The recently popular Beeple can be used as an example. The Crossroad NFT created by Beeple was released on the Nifty Gateway platform. The metadata of the image of the token is an HTTP URL hosted on the Nifty server, which contains the metadata of Crossroad. The metadata text further points to another HTTP URL containing Crossroad’s actual visual media, hosted on a cloud-based media service but still served by Nifty’s servers, as shown in the image below. This means that if the Nifty platform goes bankrupt and shuts down its servers, the owner of the Crossroad NFT will only be left with a token pointing to a defunct HTTP URL. The metadata and images attached to the NFT depend on the continuous operation of Nifty. Formfunction, a Solana-based NFT market, officially launched the Solana mainnet: On January 12, Formfunction tweeted that Formfunction, a creator-friendly NFT market based on Solana, announced the official launch of the mainnet. [2022/1/12 8:43:38] Such examples are not unheard of. In early March, musician 3LAU sold an NFT album on NiftyGateway for $11 million, but the NFT is now lost. Although a copy of 3LAU's album can still be found on NiftyGateway, the real NFT asset can no longer be retrieved, because 3LAU's NFT is indexed by HTTP URL and placed on a centralized server. So, what if you use a decentralized storage solution? IPFS, or Interplanetary File System, is a protocol for sharing and storing data centered on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. This allows for Content Addressable Storage (CAS), which means that the content-zce itself can be hashed (encrypted) and referenced. The difference between the addressing method of HTTP URL and the content-zce addressing method of IPFS can be understood in this way. A traditional URL is like telling someone to watch a specific movie at a specific theater (eg: go to iQiyi to see The Godfather), while a content-addressable store is like telling someone to only watch that movie in general (eg. : to see The Godfather). The former requires a license from iQiyi; the latter simply requires the film to exist, since anyone watching The Godfather anywhere will see the exact same content. In theory, media files stored using CAS through protocols such as IPFS can be completely dispersed while still being verifiable and unalterable. But the reality is not so simple. Files hosted through the IPFS protocol must also be stored in a node in the IPFS network. Many major centralized NFT marketplaces, despite utilizing IPFS for storage, actually intend to host these files through their own private gateways acting as nodes. This means that even if the NFT uses the method of directly referencing the media stored on IPFS, the media file may still require the IPFS node operated by the specific centralized NFT market to remain online, otherwise the NFT will be blank. Unicly and Sushi jointly launched a new NFT split auction mechanism: NFT trading agreement Unicly announced that it will cooperate with Sushi to launch a new NFT split auction mechanism, and plans to cooperate with SushiSwap to create uSUSHI NFT collections. Its first uToken MISO auction (Genesis Mooncats Collection) will be held on July 5th at 11:00 am EST (11 pm Beijing time). Additionally, SushiSwap is reportedly developing its own NFT platform called Shoyu (soy sauce). After Shoyu is fully operational, it is expected to strengthen the further synergies between Unicly and SushiSwap. [2021/6/30 0:16:40] For example, Beeple’s “everyday: The First 5000 Days” (everyday: The First 5000 Days), released on MakersPlace, sold for $69 million through Christie’s. Here, the NFT references metadata accessible through the public IPFS gateway, meaning it is likely to be safe regardless of whether Makeplace continues to operate. In reality, however, the image's index is stored through MakersPlace's private gateway. So if MakersPlace stops hosting their IPFS nodes, the files referenced by the NFT token of the "everyday" work may no longer exist, although these IPFS index data have been confirmed on the chain. If this NFT is only linked to metadata that has expired, can this NFT artwork still be worth $69 million? Of course not all NFTs will encounter such risks. There are also NFTs that have adopted other strategies. Many high-profile NFT projects, including Avastars and Art Blocks, are designed to run entirely on-chain, which means storage of metadata and visual media is completely decentralized. In short, an NFT that runs entirely on-chain is better able to deliver on its promise: the purest form of digital "ownership". Avastars’ development team, NFT42, even launched a new NFT platform, InfiNFT, which is able to generate fully decentralized NFTs through on-chain metadata and image storage. Hive Capital's strategic investment in PokerFi created with "NFT + DeFi": On May 31, Hive Capital strategically invested in PokerFi, a new cryptocurrency system created with "NFT + DeFi". At present, PokerFi has obtained strategic investment from institutions such as Hive Capital, Redline Capital, 7 O'Clock Capital, Amphora Capital, Geek Capital, Huike Capital, ECO2 Foundation Ltd, and Dianshi Fund. The specific investment amount is temporarily undisclosed. It is reported that PokerFi is a new cryptocurrency system created with "NFT + DeFi". PokerFi applies the DeFi smart contract code to ensure the trust mechanism of the entire ecology, and uses card NFT to establish a brand new currency ecology on public chains such as ETH and BSC. [2021/5/31 22:58:54] Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not cost-effective to store all media files on the chain, especially if the media files are too large, the cost will be very high. So most NFT projects have to find alternatives if they want longevity.


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NFT is hot, but storage is the most neglected important part

For NFT, you must be careful, from being worth millions to being worthless, there may be only one step away. Storage is a key part of it. ‍Recently, the NFT and storage concept tracks are still hot.

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